Review: School Spirit by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

Middle Grade Madness

School Spirit by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

All Kat wants is to be normal, or at least to look that way to students at her new school. But her mother is a medium, and not the kind that fits in between small and large; Kat’s mom is the kind of medium who sees spirits and communicates with them. And, even worse, Kat has just discovered that she can see spirits too. In fact, she seems to be the only one capable of helping a spirit at her school cross over successfully. The question is can she do it without needing to switch schools herself?

Title: School Spirit (Suddenly Supernatural #1)
Author: Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
Publication date: June 1, 2008

Kat’s mother is a medium who conducts her business from their home. It’s not uncommon for the temperature to drop twenty degrees in a few seconds because a ghost has shown up. Unfortunately, this exact thing happens when a popular girl is at Kat’s house for a school project. Kat was new at her school in the middle of last year and she still hasn’t found her niche. She’s hoping to impress Shoshanna and find some new friends, but one visit to Kat’s house makes it clear that isn’t going to happen.

The ability to see ghosts is a gift, one that Kat’s mother acquired when she turned thirteen. Now that Kat has just turned thirteen, she’s started seeing them too. There are some funny incidents that occur when Kat sees ghosts and doesn’t realize it, and when she sees people she thinks are ghosts but aren’t. Kat’s lucky though, because she does find a friend, a girl who is even newer to the school than Kat. She and Jac hit it off right away. I like Jac’s confidence and her willingness to stand up for Kat when Shoshanna tries to throw her popularity around.

Kat’s in the school library when she first sees a ghost of a teenage girl. There’s some waffling because Kat really doesn’t want this gift, but after some research and then some urging from Jac and a talk with her mom, she reluctantly realizes she has to help the girl. Kat’s first attempt at a séance doesn’t go very well. It’s less séance, more ghost-just-shows-up, actually. Jac and Kat arrange to meet at the school before dawn because that’s the best time for a séance. (Never mind that Kat’s mom regularly meets with clients and presumably holds séeances during regular business hours.) That Jac has a key to the school (TO THE SCHOOL!) is unrealistic. She’s in seventh grade! There would be tons of legal liabilities! And she’s a new student! They don’t even know her. Jac can’t practice her cello at home because she lives in an apartment? Not the school’s problem.

But Suzanne, the teen ghost, isn’t the only one to show up at the “séance.” There’s something dark there too, and even Jac, who doesn’t have Kat’s gift, can sense it. Strangely, this is never resolved, but I’m hoping this storyline will be picked up in one of the other books in the series.

What I like best about School Spirit is that there isn’t too much middle school drama. I like that in contemporaries, but School Spirit is billed as a paranormal and it is. You can never avoid drama in middle school entirely, but the ghost/medium part of the plot is definitely in the forefront. The drama that does exist is with Shoshanna and her group, not with boys. School Spirit is a quick read (the font is big!) and I want to read the next two books to find out more about Kat and Jac. Although Kat’s reluctance to embrace her gift is understandable, I find Jac the more interesting character and I hope she will be as much a part of the other books as she is School Spirit.

4 stars



  1. This sounds like a fun MG with the ghosts involved and the plot where the main character is going to do a sceancé. I do agree with you that it sounds weird how Jac has a key to the school, that’s just unbelievable. And that’s a shame of the unresolved plot line, but at it’s the first book in a series I hope the next books might address that. Great Review!
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  2. This one sounds like a fun MG paranormal 🙂 Although unrealistic details tend to grate on my nerves (it can be hard to let go of logic sometimes lol) I hope the next book is even better!
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